Re "The bankruptcy-sprawl connection," Opinion, Oct. 1
There is probably some merit to the municipal costs associated with urban sprawl that William Fulton suggests. Intuitively, I understand his arguments.
However, the article is really only a hypothesis. Fulton's assertion would have been much more powerful if he had included references to academic studies to support his position. As a senior fellow at the Price School of Public Policy at USC, Fulton should know better.
What we are left with is an interesting supposition, but we don't know the magnitude of the costs associated with urban sprawl. Is it really something to be concerned about, or should our focus continue to be — as Fulton mentions — on pension reform?
Joel B. Miller
I do not doubt the truth of Fulton's assertion that urban sprawl and the resultant costs lead to financial strains on cities; however, I believe that other factors have led to municipal bankruptcies.
Californians should totally recall a grievous cause. While former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to rehabilitate his reputation with his new book, local governments are still suffering from his showboating reduction of the car tax in 2003. Schwarzenegger's action costs California about $5 billion in revenues per year, causing the state to dig deep into revenues, to divert revenues from cities and to shove costs onto them.
Schwarzenegger's $5-billion mistake has caused more suffering to many more people than his adultery, and it should not be forgotten.